ATM Skimming: A Refresher

ATM Skimming: A Refresher

Earlier today, ANC (a local news outlet) via Yahoo! published a news piece about a retired policewoman who lost all her pension amounting to USD 9,150 (PHP 400,000) to skimmers.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the law enforcement body whom the former officer sought help from, also warned the public of the rising incidents of ATM-related fraud.

Skimming has been a crime even before modern automated teller machines were introduced to bankers, and ATM skimming is just one of its many types. Criminals also target credit card, debit card, and smart card (chip-and-PIN, Coin) users.

Just like most evolving crimes, card skimming also started from the simplest of social engineering tricks and tools to the most sophisticated, at this time of writing. Below is a slide deck showing how fraudsters have used simple methods of getting cash from a victim:

Image Credits: CyberSecurity Malaysia

Card skimming is not as well-known to the general public as phishing in this part of the globe. Fortunately, most major banks have stepped up their efforts to safeguard their clients from potential card cloning and fraud in general. PIN pad shields are installed on ATM machines, as well as enhanced card bezels. Inspection of machines are also done daily.

Despite these, however, getting users involved by making them aware of tactics and skimming devices can result in very effective anti-fraud efforts. That said, dishing out some helpful resources at this point is timely. Here are some personal recommendations:

  • How-To Geek further explains how ATM card skimming, in particular, works and advised basic precautions on this post.
  • For an in-depth read on skimmer tactics, Brian Krebs of Krebs on Security wrote a series of posts about them, which you can read here.
  • Additional precautionary steps are supplemented by the FBI on their “ATM Skimming” post here.

On a final note, a major ATM manufacturer has recently introduced a card reader designed to ward off ATM fraud. You can read more about this and watch the accompanying videos here.

Jovi Umawing


Jovi Umawing

Knows a bit about everything and a lot about several somethings. Writes about those somethings, usually in long-form.